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22 Reasons To Exhibit At Trade Shows

22 Reasons To Exhibit At Trade ShowsWhile trade shows are not easy, they are many worthwhile reasons to exhibit.  How many?  In just ten minutes time (and without succumbing to the temptation of a Google search), I came up with these 22 reasons to lug your trade show exhibit down to the nearest convention center and exhibit:

1.  Generate sales leads
2.  Close sales
3.  Build relationships with prospects
4.  Advance the sales cycle
5.  Cross-sell existing clients
6.  Meet spread-out buying teams at one time
7.  Recruit new sales people
8.  Recruit new distribution
9.  Train new sales people

Marketing Communications
10. Build your brand
11. Re-position your brand
12. Increase awareness
13. Survey market awareness
14. Interview clients
15. Generate publicity

Product Marketing:
16. Launch new products
17. Survey attendees about new product ideas
18. Research competitor’s products and messaging

Executive Management:
19. Keep up on industry trends
20. Meet with key clients
21. Meet with key business partners
22. Profitably build the business

Think those 22 reasons are worthwhile?  Then share the list with someone who needs to see it.  Got your own favorite reasons that aren’t on the list?  Then go ahead and add them in the comment box below.  Even add other areas of the company that would be well served by your exhibiting program.  There’s no reason not to.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

24 responses to “22 Reasons To Exhibit At Trade Shows

  1. I think that many companies miss how participating in trade shows can substantially increase their ROI. My favorite thing to say when I’m on the phone with a potential exhibitor is:

    “In terms of an advertising expense, you can’t beat it! You can place an ad in a magazine or newspaper, run an extensive campaign of television and radio commercials, or go crazy with guerillia marketing….but the FACT of the matter is, some may see you – some may not, some may pick up the phone and call – some may not….BUT, at an event like ours you are FACE to FACE with over 30,000 potential consumers that fall DIRECTLY within your targeted market!!! They can see, touch and examine your products, and more importantly your sales people get valuable time to pitch the product. I’m not sure of any other form of advertising that can get you that!!!”

    I am good at sales, because I believe in what I do….and this statement is the heart of what I believe to be true!

  2. Certainly it is a good platform for exposing your products but as far as potential customers are concerned, you will get very less. eg, 1000 leads visited your stall, 30% are actually potential customers in which only 30% (90) would purchase your product.

    1. Amit,

      Exposing your products at the show is a good value for trade shows, but for most exhibitors, sales generated are more important. Using your example, if those 90 people purchasing your product end up buying 20 times more in dollars than what it cost to exhibit at the show, it would be a very successful event. Plus then you’ve also exposed the other 910 people to your product and have advanced the sales cycle with them.

  3. Right you are! Trade Shows and events are exceptionally broad in terms of what can be accomplished for the host company. I teach a planning model related to what you are speaking of.

    Trade shows, and customer events in general, produce two main accomplishments for the host company.

    1) Business Development
    This includes:
    *Revenue Generation
    Target Marketing
    Prospect Development
    *Revenue Retention
    Customer Relationship Management
    Growth on the Revenue Base
    *Channel Management
    *Supplier and Partner Management
    Negotiation of more favorable terms
    or arrangements
    *Influencers and Regulators Management
    Influence the conditions under
    which business is conducted and
    products are sold (associations,
    standards bodies, etc.)
    *Cost Savings through expense
    avoidance activity at an event

    2) Marketing Communications
    *Press Management
    *PR Activity
    *Analyst Management
    *Marcom Objectives
    Brand Development and Reinforcement
    Program Communications
    Market Positioning
    Product Launch
    Community Development (social
    Continuous Communications
    Relationship Development
    *Community Relations

    These elements form the core of a robust planning structure that Skip Cox of Exhibit Surveys and I developed into an automated planning support and measurement tool. Information on that tool may be found on either of our websites.

    Keep preaching the word that shows are about a lot more than leads and sales!

    Ed Jones
    Constellation Communication Corp.
    ROI on Events, Event Measurement and Evaluation

    1. Thanks, Ed! I enjoyed reading your much more though-out list than mine. It seems that generating profitable sales leads has to do the heavy lifting of justifying most exhibitors’ trade show participation. Yet the value of all your other activities is very substantial, and would be costly to duplicate outside of the trade show. It would be good to start any trade show planning meeting with your list in hand.

  4. Thanks guys ,

    I agree with all of you, we now looking for revolution in expo industry , through online exhibition, what do you think it will revolutionary step or not. Please tell me your view on it.

    1. Rahul,

      You ask a great question, one that will be interesting to see as it gets answered by the market over the next several years. I think that online exhibitions are providing good value, which is why in this tight economy they are growing. Companies can get access to educational content and vendors, vendors get access to leads, all at a lower cost than live trade shows. However, attendees prefer to meet vendors in person and see real products when evaluating them for purchases, which they can only do at live trade shows. The question is whether or not the lower cost will win out over higher quality, or if online exhibitions will end up as an adjunct to live shows.

  5. On-line exhibition cannot replace convention center trade shows because it simply cannot accommodate the human portion of the equation. Using on-line means for educating prospects on offerings, delivering specifications and communicating “facts” makes sense and is well-received by most business people looking to maximize return on time invested in research for solutions they need.

    Trade shows offer the emotional response (empathy for problems and enthusiasm for solutions) that humans factor into their buying decisions. You want to trust your vendor (“look ’em in the eye”) to feel the assurance that the decision is right.

    Combining on-line efforts with other marketing communication BEFORE the trade show can increase the effectiveness of the trade show face-to-face communication.

  6. Its a good article and i am totally agree with all of you. But we are failed to promote trade events and unable to change the minds of people. As per my perception, Marketing activities such as Magazine ads, TV Commercial, ATL ,BTL activities more efficient for FMCG goods but there are many other industries for those mentioned activities are not enough productive so they can promote their brands by participating in trade shows.

    1. Hello Zahra,

      Yes, you are right, trade shows are not as efficient for selling consumer packaged goods, but are great for business to business marketing. We often see very well known consumer brands exhibiting at trade shows, but they are focused on their distribution rather than their end user customers.

  7. Hello Mike,
    I liked your post. As, we are into the same kind of business, this post is really beneficial for us.
    Even I agree with what Zahra has said. But, there are some retailers who don’t even understand the importance of attending the trade shows. They avoid it due to many reasons, but the common reason is the travelling expense. Can you suggest something that can be done for getting retailers to attend Trade Shows? What kind of marketing strategy can be followed?

  8. Great article!
    Trade shows are the only offline marketing strategy that allows horizontal communication. It is also the only type of sales / marketing where visitors come to you and have time & interest to discuss about your product – the best possible opportunity to get additional contracts!
    That being said, exhibitions are not easy things: it requires a lot of work BEFORE and AFTER the event: planning, budgeting, setting targets, preparing the booth, designing marketing material, capturing leads, following-up, converting prospects… that’s quite some work!
    It is important to define a booth leader that will make all this happen and to provide him with the right tools. At myfairtool we provide a complete tool that covers all these steps and insures the right ROI.
    Good luck with your next event!

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